Blog Posts

Tuesday, August 8, 2017, 10:30 | 1 Comment »

Cast metal dancers outside the station in Viana do Castelo

You usually need to be both famous and dead in order to be immortalised in metal or stone but not in the Minho. If you come up from Porto to Viana do Castelo on the little stopping train, you will find this metal cast of traditional dancers just outside the entrance to the station. These statues aren't of long forgotten dead folk: instead they celebrate a vibrant, living tradition.

To find another example of folkloric statuary and see some real life musicians and dancers, click here.

Saturday, June 24, 2017, 15:28 | 2 Comments »

Fogo Lagoon

Portugal has been placed third out of 163 countries - after Iceland and New Zealand - on the 2017 Global Peace Index, created by the Institute for Economics and Peace based in Sydney, Australia. (For comparison, the UK is in 41st position equal with Zambia.) Congratulations Portugal! Long may you stay there.

Even some once turbulent places in Portugal seem gloriously tranquil now. This is Fogo or Fire Lagoon on the Island of Sao Miguel. It must once have been a caldera bubbling with magma - a hell on earth - but doesn't it look inviting now? Unlike the Seven Cities Lagoon in the west, this central crater is uninhabited. The only people to reach its shores are intrepid hikers, of which there are many visiting Sao Miguel. Do you fancy walking round the perimeter and then cooling off your aching feet in the water at the edge of the lake?

Not all of Sao Miguel is as peaceful, though. To read more, click here

Monday, June 5, 2017, 23:07 | 1 Comment »
Garage in Vila Franca do campo

The haggis is one of Scotland's favourite foods. Have you ever heard the story about how the Scots catch one?

If you haven't, click here.

Monday, June 5, 2017, 22:08 | 1 Comment »

A street decorated with lights in Vila Franca do Campo

Street decorations! These were the first indication that something was going on in Vila Franca do Campo on the island of São Miguel. One of the greatest delights of Portugal is arriving in a town to discover a 'festa' taking place. It's happened to us unexpectedly many times before and the night we arrived on the island of Sao Miguel in the Azores it happened again. We settled into our hotel, the converted and renovated convent of St Francis, ( and then headed out for dinner.

To see what we found, click here. 

Sunday, May 14, 2017, 22:09 | No Comments »

The cloister of the Convento de Sao Francisco

Of course, it all depends on the kind of place where you like to stay when you're on holiday. Do you want a restaurant, a bar and a tennis court on hand in a spanking new hotel with a name you feel you can trust because it belongs to a well-known chain? If so, on the island of São Miguel you may wish to choose the Pestana Bahia Praia Hotel right on the sea front at Praia de Água de Alto.

If, however, you prefer a simpler hotel with character and an air of history, perhaps you would like to come with me a couple of kilometres further down the coast road to the Convento de São Francisco in Vila Franca do Campo.  

To learn more, click here.

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